Will Hydrogen Clear the Air, Maybe Not, Say Some

Not all hydrogen is created equal

Published: 12-Nov-2003

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 - Widespread hydrogen use has been enthusiastically embraced by major corporations and environmentalists alike as a panacea for global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels, and is a particular favorite of the Bush administration. But skeptics, and even some hydrogen advocates, say that use of hydrogen could instead make the air dirtier and the globe warmer.

Next week, the Bush administration is convening a meeting of the energy ministers of 15 countries to Washington for a four-day meeting with the theme of an "International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy." President Bush himself pledged in the State of the Union address in January that "the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free."

Use of hydrogen fuel cells could certainly help eliminate tailpipe pollution and dependence on foreign oil. But hydrogen is only a way to store energy. Where the energy comes from in the first place is where the problems start.

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